"If you could say one thing to aspiring novelists, what would you say?"
The one thing I would say is that becoming a successful writer is a result of doing many things; some easy, some hard. First is to make sure this is what God wants you to do. Then trust that He will open any necessary doors for you to succeed. Then, write from your heart. Write with passion. As Thomas Carlyle said, "If a book comes from the heart, it will contrive to reach other hearts. "
Be willing to do a lot of REwriting. Every novel should take several drafts. Be willing to learn how to improve your writing. Attend writer's conferences, read the writer's magazines, join a critique group--do whatever you can to immerse yourself in the world of writers and writing. Steel yourself for rejection. READ, READ, READ. Allow what you read to affect your own writing style.
Having done all these things, the best thing that can happen is for God to bring along that one editor who gets what you're trying to do with your writing. A good match between an author and his or her editor is indeed made in heaven. There's a saying that goes, "when the pupil is ready, the teacher will appear." For Christians writers, that might be edited to read: "When the writer is ready, the editor will appear." Be patient and keep praying, reading, writing, and submitting.
--Nick Harrison, Senior Editor, Harvest House Publishers